Summer 2024

Ministry? Coaching? Nick Foles seeks God's plan for life after football, whenever that time comes

Nick Foles said he thinks about life after football “all the time.” Whatever he does next, he wants it to have purpose.

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“I don’t want to end my career and not know what direction I’m going, so I think about it all the time,” Foles said recently on Sports Spectrum’s “Weekly Slant.” “What will I do next? Whenever I’m done, I’ll still be a young man. I just turned 33. I have one more year on my contract. I’ll play out this year and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Foles, who most notably helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a win in Super Bowl LII and won Most Valuable Player honors, just finished his 10th season in the NFL and his second with the Chicago Bears.

He’s been used as a starting quarterback sporadically with five different teams, including a stretch of seven games with the Bears in 2020, but has predominantly served as a backup throughout his career. He was called on to start in Philadelphia when MVP candidate Carson Wentz went down with an injury and subsequently led the Eagles to the Super Bowl championship.

In 2019 he signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, $50.1 million of which was guaranteed. He was named the starting quarterback for the first game of the season but suffered an injury that sidelined him until Week 11. He started three more games before being benched in Week 13 in favor of Gardner Minshew. The Jaguars traded Foles to Chicago in March 2020, and he was set to be the backup for starter Mitchell Trubisky.

But in 2021, he was Chicago’s third-string quarterback for most of the season after the team signed Andy Dalton in the offseason and drafted Justin Fields. However, with Dalton and Fields both out in Week 16 for a game against the Seattle Seahawks, Foles led Chicago to a come-from-behind 25-24 win in his only start of the season.

He praised God during his postgame press conference.

“I said it a couple years ago in a press conference … it doesn’t matter if you’re the first-string, second-string, third-string, you’ve got to know who you are as a human being and what your identity is,” Foles said. “It can’t be in this game. It’s got to be in something greater, and I’ve always said mine’s in Jesus Christ. I was a third-string quarterback tonight. I was just a third-string — that’s my label. But at the end of the day, that’s not who I am. I’m just Nick Foles. I just go out there and I play. I lean on my teammates. I go to work.”

After the 2022 season, he’ll enter the free-agent market as a 34-year-old. There’s no guarantee he’ll have a job somewhere. All of that has led him to consider what’s next.

He’s completing seminary through Redemption Seminary, a go-at-your-own-pace program that he said fits perfectly for his life as a professional athlete. He has a heart for people in the young adult phase of life, so serving in young adult ministry is one potential option for him.

“The high school, college level — young men and young women — are very vulnerable in the sense of trying to figure out who they are as human beings, and who created them, what’s going on, what is life,” Foles said on the “Weekly Slant.” “Sometimes we feel like we have it figured out, but some adversity hits us and we realize we don’t. But that is definitely something that’s always been on my heart.”

Another potential option is coaching, but purely on a volunteer basis at a local high school — something that would still allow him to use his gifts and pour into young adults.

“I love the aspect of coaching,” he said. “I love helping young players out, teaching them the game, teaching them about life. Football’s a sport where not only can you teach them the X’s and O’s and the fundamentals of it, but you can teach them life while teaching them that.”

He’ll remain committed to the Bears next season, all the while trying to discern God’s plan for his next steps.

“All that’s on my heart,” Foles said. “I’m sure God will probably bring up something at the right time that I didn’t even see before and He’ll be like, ‘All right, this is the path I want you to go on,’ because that’s usually how it works. My plan won’t be His, but just keeping an open heart to all of it.”

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